Call for Participants Globalisation and Commercialisation in the Social Sectors

Globalisation and Commercialisation in the Social Sectors

Date: 16th May 2023

Venue: King’s College London Department of International Development

Service provision in social sectors such as healthcare, social care and education is most often considered within a national boundary, reflecting the origins of these sectors in an era in which the nation-state was the pre-eminent form. However, the interplay of commercialisation and globalisation is producing significant changes in the political economy of these sectors, including the expansion of global markets for services, cross-border provision by public and private institutions, and new state-market engagements to promote exporting and importing.

This one-day research symposium seeks to bring together researchers who are studying this area to unpack and critique these developments in different social sectors. It will invite multi-disciplinary perspectives, aiming to generate discussion and stimulate learning across boundaries.

The call for presentations is open to researchers working on relevant issues in any social sector (broadly defined). Questions addressed might include:

  • Which actors, policies and practices are involved in opening domestic social sectors to international activities and in trading in services across borders?
  • Why and how are public and private institutions engaging in international commercial activities in social sectors, and what are the tensions and implications for people who work in or use services?
  • What political and ideological conflicts do states experience as they seek to promote international commercialisation in the social sectors?
  • How has the landscape for this been changed by social disruption and upheaval, for example due to conflict, political instability or the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What are the links with other social processes such as financialisation, digitalisation and new forms of capitalisation, e.g. rentierism? And how is scale strategised to advance market making?
  • How does it interact with social trends and inequalities such as around class, gender and/or race?
  • What regulatory challenges and responses are emerging?
  • What are the opportunities for cross-border solidarities, activism and lesson-sharing?
  • What are the conceptual and methodological approaches and challenges to studying transnational processes in social sectors?

To apply to participate, please submit either: a) an abstract outlining what you would like to present, or b) a justification of how attendance as a non-presenter would benefit your work. This should be no longer than 250 words, sent to by 23rd March.

There is no registration fee for this workshop and lunch will be provided. Those travelling from outside London may be eligible for a contribution towards standard class train travel costs within the UK if they are unable to obtain funding from their own institution or project. Researchers from outside the UK are most welcome to apply but will require funding from their own institution.

The symposium is part of a collaborative research project Analysing the transnational provisioning of services in the social sector, supported by the UK ESRC.

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